According to The Post's article on the Montreal Expos possible move [Sports, July 23], the all-powerful baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, is well disposed toward Charlotte, primarily because "putting a team in Washington would cannibalize part of the fan base of the Baltimore Orioles, who depend on Washington and its suburbs for more than 20 percent of their fans."
This is too much.
As a 19-year old college student who has grown up in Northern Virginia, I have gone to precisely two Orioles games in my lifetime. This is true despite the fact that I am an avid baseball fan, eager to embrace baseball with the same passion I root for the Redskins and the Wizards.
So why have I not been able to root for the O's? Why has baseball lost a full generation of baseball fans in the Washington area?
Recently, the Washingtonian magazine did a study of sorts, sending out three adventurers to discover the fastest way to get from Washingtonian headquarters to Camden Yards. By train, the trip took two hours and was astoundingly expensive. Via car, the trip is an hour and a half, assuming traffic is not too heavy. This means that for a family to go to a weeknight baseball game from the Washington area, they have to get home from work, pick up the kids, eat dinner and leave the area at 6 p.m., only to be embroiled in endless lines of Beltway traffic.
After the game, the hour-long drive back to the Washington area means that the kids will be in bed by midnight at the earliest, a deadly sin when it comes to a school night. How many Washington professionals can afford to leave work well before 5 p.m. to attend a baseball game? How many kids can afford to have irresponsible sleeping habits on a school night?
So what choices does Orioles owner Peter Angelos leave us with if we want to see a baseball game? The once-every-two-weeks Sunday afternoon game that is always sold out? Isn't it a little odd that, though the Orioles are supposedly our team too, we account for merely 20 percent of the fans, despite the fact that the Washington area has twice the population of Baltimore? If this were truly one metropolis, why were the Ravens brought to Baltimore? Why have the Redskins not been crippled as a result?
And why is Selig so buddy-buddy with Angelos anyway? Isn't this the same Angelos who sabotaged the Selig-led owners in the players' strike just a short time ago?
So please, Commissioner Selig. Give us the young, hustling Expos. I want to root for Vladmir Guerrero, Rondell White, Felipe Alou and Dustin Hermanson, not Albert Belle. For crying out loud, Charlotte does not even come close to having the fan base necessary to field a successful baseball franchise. Why not give rich, metropolitan, sports-crazy Washington the chance to love baseball? Why alienate yet another generation of Washington youth from a sport they are yearning to embrace? Maybe I am young and naive, but this just doesn't make sense.
-- David Ellis